The Blendlings are a series of small skeins of handspun I am making, in order to study color, learn combination drafting, and improve my spinning by studying and adjusting my practices in small amounts. For a fuller project description, click here.
It was inevitable: the last Blendling would be a hodge-podge mixture of whatever I had left. And I had some weird colors left. My interest was piqued, however, by the fact that I had two strips each of almost all these leftovers.
What I really wanted to do was blend them really thoroughly, to see if they made brown, or something properly muddy. I have no equipment for this, though: my handcards are in the mail from three thousand miles away, and I certainly don’t have a drum carder or blending board.
So I hatched a truly goofy plan. I decided to fake having handcards.
What I did was strip each strip down into tiny strips, fluff them up by hand, and lay them close together. I did this with one color at a time.
Dark green, pink, dark teal, light teal, and beige made the first half of my leftovers. When they were piled up like this, I rolled them up over a chopstick to make a giant fake rolag! A “faux-lag”, if you will. (Ok so a fauxlag is really a thing according to ravelry, and it’s not quite this. But I’m not sure what else to call this thing.)
Faux-lag #2, from outside to inside, had beige, light teal, red, pink, dark green. I reversed the colors, basically, and the dark teal was swapped for red, as I only had one of each.
Aren’t they hilarious? They’re more like sandworms than anything else.
I could have done something more sensible than this. I could have waited for my handcards to get here. I could have just combo drafted five colors together, in keeping with what I’ve been trying to learn this whole time. But you know what? This is the last time for a while that I’m going to be able to try something that’s just silly that doesn’t threaten to mess up a larger project. I know I’m going to get all intense and intentional about my next projects. This is my last chance to cut loose.
I stretched my faux-lags into long, messy fiber snakes. Unsurprisingly, despite all my fluffing, the strips just tended to slant and elongate rather than widen as I stretched it out.
The spinning experience was a little weird, but it wasn’t as much of a pain as I feared. It was just a strange way to combo draft – good for randomness, bad for consistency. I was usually drafting some two colors together – the dark green tended to take over for a bit at a time sometimes, whether it was on the inside or outside of the faux-lag – but there were some pretty sweet moments where I was drafting five colors at once for a while. I did a sort of variation of short forward draw, but I was a little preoccupied by managing this silly snake.
The end bobbins were… pretty weird. And there was a lot more of the second one, the one with the red – clearly I should have weighed my halves rather than counting strips.
Still, the final result was not at all un-pleasing. It’s almost Christmas-y. It’s very similar to #9, though more variegated. That’s how I think it’ll knit up – like a variegated yarn. A variegated yarn with marling and heathering thrown in! It would probably be really fun to knit up something large in stockinette with this much variation. Overall it probably would look greyish, and up close all the craziness would look interesting. I’ll never know what it would have looked like properly blended by carding, but it would have been very different.
The Nerd Numbers (Blendling #19):
Spun from “faux-lags,” see above for construction. Total color strips: 2 dark green, 2 pink, 2 light teal, 2 beige, 1 red, 1 dark teal.
Spun short forward draw, spinning off a pre-drafted “faux-lag”.
Spinning Ratio: 6:1
1 treadle per draft, on average. Maybe 1-1.5″ draft.
Plied from 2 bobbins
Plying Ratio: 6:1
6-7 treadles : 12″
S twist, Z plied
Yardage: 36.7 yd after finishing
Weight: .8 oz
Appx. Grist: 734 YPP
TPI: 3.5 before finishing, 4 after finishing
WPI: 10 before and after finishing (9 with thicker bits in the picture)
Angle of twist: 30 degrees before finishing, 35 degrees after finishing
And that’s it for the Blendlings! I’m sure you’re sick to death of them, but I’ll give them one more post tomorrow to talk about what I’ve learned and where we go from here. Cheers!